Hockey: Doncaster ladies relegated from National League

Charlotte Tomlin (in white) found the net against Ben Rhydding but her goal could not save Doncaster from the drop.
Charlotte Tomlin (in white) found the net against Ben Rhydding but her goal could not save Doncaster from the drop.

Doncaster’s 22-year stay in the women’s National Hockey League is over after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Ben Rhydding condemned them to relegation.

The Town Field ladies knew they must win their final game and also hope second bottom Boots lost at Loughborough Students to pull off a dramatic escape.

Loughborough kept up their side of the bargain, winning 1-0.

But despite a brave attempt at a rain-soaked Ben Rhydding, Doncaster saw their survival hopes dashed as the home side twice came from behind to claim a share of the spoils.

The draw left Doncaster two points adrift at the foot of Conference North after a difficult season which saw the club win just one of their 18 league fixtures.

The visitors got off to the perfect start in their do-or-die clash when Charlotte Tomlin struck home an eighth minute penalty corner.

Ben Rhydding responded almost immediately, equalising through Laura Smith.

Verity Blyth found the net from open play in the 34th minute to put Doncaster back ahead but the hosts found a crucial equaliser on 49 minutes, again from the stick of Smith.

The relegation marks a season of mixed fortunes for the club after the men’s side was promoted back to the National League at the first time of asking, following their relegation last year.

Like the men did, the ladies will now drop into the Northern Premier Division where they will come up against the likes of Sheffield Hallam, City of York and Liverpool Sefton.

Doncaster, meanwhile, are advertising for new first team coaches for both their men’s and ladies’ first team. The deadline for applications is April 17. Email dhcbev@gmail.com for more information.